Helene Pavlopoulou

Aether | 2014

Exhibition in Mare Gallery

Text of the catalogue by Syrago Tsiara


Syrago Tsiara

Dr Art Historian / Director of the Thessaloniki Centre for Contemporary Art

The female forms created by Helene Pavlopoulou compose hybrid landscapes, hovering between reality and imaginary concepts. The components of her private mythology – familiar from previous groups of works – are present and continue to evolve: coexistence; a juxtaposition with magnified species from the animal kingdom; a palimpsest script that reveals successive layers of chromatic processing; biomorphic or plant-based decorative motifs that form a new cycle of life, each permeating the other, so that any distinction between content and that which houses it becomes indistinct.

The female form, as packaging, is impregnated with the qualities of the material on which it exists and mutates successively into an archetypal womb, a sentient force, a sensuous form, an explosive energy. The element which differentiates her recent canvases is the golden colour that diffuses through of the painted surface, either as a bright substrate, or as a generative material, endowing the oeuvre of this talented artist with the symbolic weight of a ritual. Her figures gain emblematic dimensions, and function as distillations of a timeless universe, where the most unorthodox encounters are rendered powerful: Is this a reversion to an Utopian golden age, an invocation for the harmonious cohabitation of mankind and our natural environment in a mythic Arcadian landscape, or a philosophical treatise on the contemporary versions of femininity utilising the media of the visual arts?

The oeuvre of Helene Pavlopoulou has developed around the axis of conceptualising the feminine form, the cultural burden of inherited representations which she personally handles, glorifies and transcends seeking a contemporary interpretation that does not hesitate to pair mysterious attraction with lurking threat. This is why her images skilfully balance between the seductiveness of beauty, of sexual challenge and subliminal disquiet, highlighting a multi-faceted, psychological portrait.